Professor Reveals Reasons behind Sleepless Nights

June 10, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. sleepless / ˈslip lɪs / (adj.) – having no sleep
Example: He suffered from a sleepless night because of drinking too much coffee.

2. lack / læk / (n.) – an absence of something
Example: Ben’s lack of exercise is causing him to gain weight.

3. synchronize / ˈsɪŋ krəˌnaɪz / (v.) – to happen simultaneously
Example: We have to synchronize your watch to the standard time.

4. thereof / ˌðɛərˈʌv / (adv.) – of the one previously mentioned
Example: My problem is sleep, specifically the lack thereof.

5. obese / oʊˈbis / (adj.) – being extremely fat   
Example: Eating too much fatty food increases your risk of becoming obese.


Read the text below.
A professor from the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine explains why people suffer from sleepless nights.

Two internal body systems control a person’s sleep—sleep homeostasis [hoh-mee-uh-STEY-sis] and the circadian [sur-KEY-dee-uh n] clock. The former identifies the amount of sleep needed by the body, while the latter regulates the timing of sleep. According to David J. Earnest [UR-nist], PhD, a person may find it difficult to sleep if these two systems do not coordinate with each other properly.

Professor Earnest cited various human activities that affect a person’s sleep schedule. One activity is bringing work home, which often forces a person to stay up late. Eating fatty snacks instead of a healthy dinner may also lead to a sleepless night.

Lack of exercise also has an effect on a person’s sleep, as it lessens the opportunity to release stress and anxiety. Being stressed and anxious makes a person’s mind active, making it more difficult to sleep. Not getting enough sunlight also results in sleeplessness. This is because exposure to sunlight helps synchronize one’s body clocks.

It is important to ensure a healthy sleep as lack thereof has serious health consequences. According to a study by the researchers from Weill [wahyl] Cornell Medical College in Qatar [KAH-tahr], people who lack enough sleep are more at risk of being obese than those who get enough sleep.

Another study in 2002 also found that reduced sleep may result in stroke, heart attack, and cancer. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, lack of sleep may also lead to lower life expectancy and mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What other activities do you think can cause sleep deprivation?
·         How can people avoid sleeplessness?

Discussion B

·         How many hours of sleep do you think can be considered healthy? Why?
·         What, for you, is the ideal time to sleep? Why is that so?

June 10, 2015